Testimonial of the physical and mental abuse of unaccompanied minors at Broadmeadows and Maribyrnong Detention Centre

Press Release 29.4.11 New laws further persecute refugees "The new laws against detainees who commit an "offense" will potentially block their permanent protection, while the crimes committed against detainees by SERCO, the Immigration Department and the Police go unchecked and the mental anguish of indefinite detention fuels the fire that pushes them to desperation point," says refugee advocate Izzy Brown.

"Testimonial from an unaccompanied minors currently in mandatory detention at Broadmeadows Detention Centre, Melbourne shows that the SERCO officials need to be held to account for their actions rather than making accusations which jeopardise the protection of refugees under these new laws."

'The Government needs to address the real problem, which is the continued detention of these unaccompanied minors, rather than subjecting them to further persecution with these regressive laws,' said Izzy Brown

First hand account of the physical mistreatment of young refugee in Broadmeadows Detention Centre

On Monday 25th April 2011, a young refugee (an ‘unaccompanied minor’ who had arrived in Australia without family) was forcibly removed in the middle of the night from the Broadmeadows Detention Centre by SERCO guards who used unnecessary force on him and the other young boys in his room.

This is an account of what happened from an unaccompanied minor currently in mandatory detention at Broadmeadows Detention Centre:

“Before they took xxx the boss came to his room, he promised nothing is going to happen to him. After 1 hour, 3 persons with very big body, they came to xxx's room and took him by force. At that time, two boys were there in the room, the SERCO punched 2 boys in the chest you can see the finger marks in their chest.

When they took him it was with hand cuff, it was in a very bad way. It effect on all the boys mental, because we are not criminal. When they took him they used very bad words (I am ashamed to repeat)Everyone is peaceful when we arrive, we not criminal.

But when we see the treatment here, the pressure of detention, all the waiting, the only answer from immigration is ‘wait’, to live without hope.I came to Australia looking for help, but when you see how they took xxx, you lose hope.

When he was in the car taking him to Maribyrnong, they yelled at him in bad words and cursed him. His Lawyer not good, he said 'you sign paper it will be good for you, to go back home to Iraq', but he is not from Iraq. They want him to do this.”

Statement from Jo Whitezki, Francis Evans (Refugee Advocates), and Lorenso Neghad (former Iranian escaped refugee) after there visit to Maribyrnong detention :

Today the 28th of April 2011 we went to Maribyrnong detention centre. We visited the boys who have come from MITA Broadmeadows. xxx was moved on Sunday the 24th of April 2011, from Broadmeadows MITA to Maribyrnong detention centre.

xxx said he was moved after becoming very distressed about his potential deportation. The officers said he would go to Maribyrnong, but the SERCO manager called Max promised him that would not happen.

Then they took him by force, which caused a struggle between the officers, xxx and 2 of his friends who were injured in the incident.It is very important to mention that xxx is suffering from his injured hand, which we could see is very swollen and cut.

He also said he was bashed during the transfer to Maribyrnong from Broadmeadows MITA by SERCO officers which resulted in his nose bleeding.

xxx is an 18-year-old Iranian born refugee. He has been recognized as a refugee on the 16/12/2010 as you can see in the document that he was given from the Australian Government. xxx told Lorenso today (in Persian) that his application has been rejected . So he says Immigration have been pressuring him through his lawyer and other means i.e.: SERCO officers to sign to go to Iraq, even though he is from Iran.

xxx is very distressed and we are worried about his mental health. He is concerned where he is staying, he is scared to be mixed with murderers and drug dealers in Maribyrnong.

We also met Ahm%% who is also very young and was recently moved from MITA to Maribrynong. He has been accepted as a refugee in 17/12/2010 but he is still waiting for his security clearance. He is also very anxious, frustrated and showing signs of deteriorating mental health. He said he is very worried and unsure about his future.

I talked for a short while to an Iraqi boy called Moy who is 16 years of age and a very good friend of xxx. He told me that he has been denied refugee status. About one and a half months ago xxx was protesting in a tree at the Broadmeadows MITA. And Moy was upset with the officers because they were laughing and taunting xxx. Moy told me that because of this they sent him straight to Maribyrnong detention centre. (Jo Whitezki)